Staying human in a machine age

7 minutes

If we are what we do, how can we stay human in an era of automation?

As automation sweeps across the world, we face challenging questions about how we work – and how we play. On the one hand, we are designing ourselves out of ever more jobs, leaving us disengaged. On the other hand, games and countless internet-enabled game-like activities are powerfully addictive. Is designing work to be more like play the answer or is there something fundamental about human abilities that we’re overlooking in how we deploy technology in our lives? In this Aeon interview, the UK writer Tom Chatfield discusses what it means to be our best selves in a time of automation.

Producer: Kellen Quinn

Interviewer: Nigel Warburton

Editor: Adam D’Arpino


An artist finds rich pickings in the sprawling mundanity of a Walmart store

4 minutes


If soldiers act with unjust aggression they are as culpable as civilian criminals

6 minutes

Video/Politics & Government

What happens when a country has its first true democratic election?

12 minutes

Essay/Future of Technology

Crimes of the future

Predictive policing uses algorithms to analyse data and cut crime. But does it really work, and should it be trusted?

Sidney Perkowitz

Idea/Internet & Communication

Only governments can safeguard the openness of the internet

Rufus Pollock


Make shelter: how to build an awesome hut only with naturally occurring materials

14 minutes

Essay/History of Technology

Buck to the future

He’s a forgotten hippie idol, a sage of 1960s counterculture. What can we learn from Bucky Fuller’s faith in technology?

Samanth Subramanian

Idea/Computing & Artificial Intelligence

Now it’s time to prepare for the Machinocene

Huw Price

Video/History of Technology

Why Ancient Pacific mariners were the NASA scientists of their day

2 minutes